Austin, Texas - The New Energy Capital?
Austin, Texas has just announced a new project, named the Pecan Street Project, which is designed to “bring great minds of clean energy — and the money and jobs that come with them — to Austin to develop the electrical grid and utility business model of the future”, according to an article by Katie Humphrey in the Austin American Statesman.
According to Brewster McCracken, an Austin City Council member, “We’ve got to change the way electricity is delivered. It involves business model changes and significant technical advances in distribution, storage and the source of the electricity”.
In the 1980’s, Austin was home to Sematech and MCC, two consortium that helped build the reputation of Austin as the base for high tech minds and high tech projects. It was very successful, as many high tech ventures were launched, then later spun off, while Austin’s high tech manufacturing and sales forces hit an all-time high.
The Pecan Street Project (named for one of Austin’s oldest and most eclectic streets) hopes to lure green projects of all scopes to Austin, and replace manufacturing jobs which had peaked in 2000. With assistance from the Environmental Defense Fund, the Pecan Street Project will try to recruit both public and private partners interested in clean energy research. They will also promote the Project at the Clean Energy Venture Summit, which will be hosted by the University of Texas and Austin Energy in December.
Let’s hope this project is successful – and spawns similar projects across the nation. America’s energy independence depends on it.